News & Media

Nine members appointed to new skills-based CFA Board

By: Claire Higgins

  6.45 PM 28 August, 2014

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As Chair of the CFA Board, I would like to congratulate the new CFA Board announced today by Minister Kim Wells.

The nine Board Members have been appointed as a result of changes to the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 to ensure the CFA Board represents a more diverse skill set.

The new Board brings a mix of technical, financial and operational experience to lead CFA in best practice emergency management now and into the future. Its members also provide greater expertise and representation of CFA’s 55,000 volunteers, with four of the Board Members being appointed from a panel nominated by Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria.

The appointments are:

Chairperson – Claire Higgins FCPA, FAICD

Appointed on 2nd October 2013, I will continue to serve as Chair of the CFA Board. I am a Board Director of the Victoria State Emergency Service, of Ambulance Victoria and of Vital Healthcare Property Trust.

Deputy Chair – John Peberdy ANZIIF (Snr Associate), CIP

John Peberdy, who joined the CFA Board in September 2009, is a business consultant, coach and a former Board Member of the Insurance Council of Australia. John was the CEO of Ansvar Insurance from 1999 to 2010, and is the Chair of Global Interaction Australia, and Chair of The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA).

Ross Coyle

Ross Coyle, who joined the CFA Board in March 2010, is a farmer on a 5,000-acre family farm at West Wodonga. Ross is heavily involved in the rural community and has been a member of the Wodonga West Brigade since he was 14. Ross is currently the brigade's Captain.

Katherine Forrest

Katherine, who joins the CFA Board as a new member, is a partner in the Banking and Finance practice of King & Wood Mallesons law firm. She has nearly 20 years’ experience advising financial services clients. Katherine has also been a member of the Law Council of Australia Financial Services sub-committee since 1998.

Michael Freshwater

Michael Freshwater, who joined the CFA Board in October 2013, has served as both Mayor and Deputy Mayor with the East Gippsland Shire Council and continues to chair numerous committees and boards in the area.

Peter Harmsworth AO, BComm, GradDipDP

Peter Harmsworth, who joined the CFA Board in June 2007, has extensive experience in senior level management across the public sector including as Chair/CEO of the State Services Authority, Secretary of the Department of Justice and Director General of the Office of Corrections.

James Holyman

James, who joins the CFA Board as a new member, was until recently Executive Director of Strategy and Innovation at the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. He has a strong background with CFA, previously working as the Executive Manager of Regional Services and Executive Manager of Human Resources and Quality.

John Schurink

John, who joins the CFA Board as a new member, is the Chief Customer Officer at the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority and has previously worked as General Manager of Operations at Rural Ambulance Victoria.

Michael Tudball AFSM MBA, Grad Dip Bus (Mgt), Dip CD, FAICD, MIPAA

Michael Tudball, who joined the CFA Board in October 2003, has held senior executive positions in state and local government and has managed his own business management consultancy for more than 10 years. Michael is President of the Djerriwarrh Health Services Board and a former Councillor and Mayor of Moorabool Shire Council.

We warmly thank retiring Board Members Paul Denham, Reid Mather, Don Robertson and Mike Taylor for their dedication to CFA over the years and acknowledge them for the significant contributions they have made to the organisation.

The new Board appointments will come into effect 1 September 2014.


Claire Higgins

Last Updated: 10 December 2015